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Almost Dying in Dublin

traveling with a peanut allergy

“I’ll have the banana breakfast smoothie and toast,” I smiled at the young guy behind the counter at a hole in the wall cafe in Dublin. Little did I know how much I would come to regret those words.

I had been in Europe for 10 months, studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain and I was on my way home to America for the summer. I caught a flight deal with a layover in Ireland, so my best friend N, her brother and her cousin and I decided to check out Dublin for a week.

Settling down in a booth in the back, N and I started gabbing about what we were going to do for the day in Dublin. Like many under-twenty-one year old Americans abroad, it didn’t take long for us to decide on the Guinness and Jameson factories as our hot spots for the day.

traveling with a peanut allergy

As the waiter brought our food over, I slipped my Ireland guidebook back in my messenger bag and prepared to tuck in. I was hungry! I took a bite of my toast and then grabbed my smoothie. I took a couple big chugs of my drink, swallowing everything before a look of complete horror passed over my face.

“F***! This smoothie has peanut butter in it!”

This may not sound like a big deal to most people, but I am violently allergic to peanuts. And not get a rash, swell up and take a Benadryl kind of allergic, I’m talking head to foot hives, my throat closes up and I go into anaphylactic shock and could DIE kind of allergic.

Ever since I found out I had a peanut allergy in kindergarten when my class made peanut butter and oat dog biscuits for Clifford the Big Red Dog and I ended up in the ER, peanuts have been the bane of my existence.

I am not exactly innocent when it comes to my allergy. In fact, I am rather lazy about have a life-threatening illness. I am very adventurous when it comes to trying new food, and (until Dublin) I almost never ask if it a dish contains peanuts.

traveling with a peanut allergy

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In the States I usually don’t have to worry because every restaurant and food provider is so afraid of getting smacked with a lawsuit, they label everything. In Spain I didn’t really have to worry either because peanuts (cacahuetes) are a very uncommon ingredient. I know what foods are known to have peanuts, like Asian noodles, Thai restaurants, Reese’s pieces and unlabeled cookies. I carry Benadryl and an Epi-pen with me wherever I go. Unfortunately my live-saving Epi-pen expired when I was in Spain and I never bothered to get a new one since I was coming home.

For those of you who haven’t seen Pulp Fiction, an Epi-pen is a shot of epinephrine (adrenaline) that people like me carry around with them in case a peanut sneaks up on them unaware, like in a smoothie. SERIOUSLY, WHO PUTS PEANUT BUTTER IN A BANANA SMOOTHIE? You have to pull the cap off and stick it in your leg for 10 seconds to prevent death. It’s like magic.

traveling with a peanut allergy

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Now normally I have the nose of a bloodhound when it comes to peanuts. I can smell them from fifty yards away, even cooked in food, so I almost always catch the little buggers before consumption. If the stray peanut does get by my nose, I can usually taste it and spit it out immediately before swallowing, leaving me with hives and welts in my mouth, which SUCKS but it could be worse. What is truly dangerous is when a peanut goes down my throat.

Now I drank AND swallowed a good quarter of that smoothie before realizing it had peanut butter in it. And I didn’t have an Epi-pen. As my southern relatives are fond of saying, I was up the proverbial shit creek without a paddle.

Tears welled in my eyes and I started cursing, shaking my hands around yelling “what do I do? what do I do?!” (poor N, V, and C, I owe them a dinner just thinking about this story and what they had to put up with)! Grabbing a napkin, I tried to scrub out any peanut smoothie residue from my mouth before grabbing a glass of water and running to the bathroom.

traveling with a peanut allergy

If you don’t have a food allergy, it is really hard to describe the feeling you experience after eating something like a peanut. Your mouth and throat burns and itches, it gets tight and you can’t breath, it literally feels like someone is shoving a spiky pillow down your throat to suffocate you. It is the most horrible, scariest feeling I have ever experienced.

It doesn’t help that I am completely irrational and my first reaction is that I am going to die, usually leading to me having a panic attack in addition to an allergy attack. Wonderful.

Now, I don’t want to gross out my more delicate readers, but basically I drank as much water as I could and stuck my fingers down my throat. Better out than in. Unfortunately it didn’t really help. I think consuming peanut butter (which is very concentrated) and as a liquid it went to work much faster on my body than I anticipated. N was trying to get me to go to the hospital, but I stubbornly insisted I would be fine. The tail end of a trip from a year in Europe? I was church mouse poor. I couldn’t afford an ER visit with no health insurance. I made N scamper off to a pharmacy for meds while I tried to get it together in a dingy little diner bathroom.

At this point, I could barely breathe. The room was spinning and my whole body hurt. The last coherent thought that passed through my mind was that I didn’t want to die on the floor of a diner bathroom. Then I passed out cold. In retrospect, it’s the only time in my life I have passed out in a bathroom stone-cold sober, rather ironic, no?

Not one of my finer moments.

I would faint two more times that day and it took nearly 24 hours for my body to recover. I couldn’t keep down any medicine, food or water for a day, and I can’t remember ever being in so much pain in my life; it retrospect it was incredibly stupid for me not to go to the hospital. I was lucky I didn’t die.

traveling with a peanut allergy

Source

But you know what I felt the worst about? I felt both guilty and humiliated.

There is nothing worse than having no control over your body. I should have asked if that smoothie had nuts in it (in my defense, it did have the ingredients listed, just not peanut butter) but I should have known better. Being in Europe people don’t have the same issues with food allergies and labeling like we do in the US. It was humiliating for my friends to see me so sick and so unable to take care of myself. I hate getting ill in public. And I felt guilty that my food allergy ruined our day in Dublin and that N and her family had to nurse me back to health. No Jameson factory for us, though maybe if we had gone, a shot of whiskey might have cleared all the peanut proteins from my system. They would have had to carry me though, I could barely walk.

This was something I never wanted to experience again.

What to take away from this?

For me, travel and food are invariably linked. I will never sacrifice traveling because of a peanut allergy. One of the best ways to get to know a country and it’s culture is through its food. I believe the two can coexist in relative peace, if you are careful and plan accordingly. I even believe that one day I can travel safely around such peanut-infested places like Thailand (oh snap! Did I just give away one of my upcoming trips?!)

Talking with Jodie from Legal Nomads at TBEX in Girona about her experiences traveling gluten-free inadvertently encouraged and inspired me to evaluate my own trips and I how I prepare and deal with roaming the world with a potential life-threatening illness.

Apart from simply being more careful in the future, I’ll always make damn sure I’m covered for health and travel insurance. I recently discovered World Nomads Travel Insurance which, when compared with other insurance companies I’ve used before, seems unbeatable. They have customizable and affordable policies that fit with any travel style. Each policy is flexible, can be changed at any time and covers ALL the adventure sports!

This post is the first in a series I am developing about how to travel with a food allergy. From my own traumatizing experience in Dublin, I am going to show you how to travel the world safely with a food allergy, like peanuts.

Get excited allergy people!

I learned a valuable lesson that day on the bathroom floor in Dublin: how to be a cautious and aware food traveler. Not to mention, I now have an irrational fear of banana smoothies, which sucks because I love bananas and I love smoothies, just not together. Shudder.

I’m excited to revisit Dublin for TBEX Europe 2013 and see what food curveballs this city has in store for me!

Do you have a food allergy? How do you cope with it while traveling? Have you ever had a scary food incident abroad?

traveling with a peanut allergy

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91 Responses to Almost Dying in Dublin

  1. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas November 21, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    So scary! I am lucky I don’t have food allergies, nor have I traveled with anyone who does. I think it’s incredible how much our bodies have change, biologically, and we’re now suffering all kinds of allergies that never existed a few centuries ago. Be safe, chiki!

    • Liz November 22, 2012 at 2:42 am #

      it’s really interesting because other countries like Spain, don’t really have issues with allergies like peanuts.

      • lk November 27, 2013 at 3:16 am #

        Hi Liz, That’s actually not true. Unfortunately they are seeing allergies worldwide.

        • Liz November 27, 2013 at 4:51 am #

          I am speaking from experience, and from my experience living in Spain for 3+ years and traveling to 30+ countries, most countries do not have the same quantity or severity of peanut allergies like in the US/Uk or commonwealth countries.

          • Celia March 7, 2014 at 11:46 am #

            Dear Liz, I am Spanish and a mom of an allergic teen. My son has had to spend a number of times many hours in the ER due to severe reactions to nuts. His last episode was triggered by cross contamination and he had his lungs collapse and nearly died. He was in intensive care for a couple of days. We are extremely careful and carry two epi pens everywhere we go he has his ID bracelet and never eats without asking first. The problem here is people don’t care about allergic people, for this reason there is less emphasis on labels. As for people not having it, you are very wrong, there are 20 kids in my sons class and 2 are allergic to nuts, one to egg and another to gluten. On average in Spain you have 1 child in every class rom who suffers some kind of food allergy. Sorry to burst your bubble but we do have allergies in Spain, only people die frequently from them in the streets because there is no knowledge on how to handle them. There are more deaths due to allergic reactions in Spain in one year than in the state of Florida in the same period of time.
            you are responsible for managing your life and it looks like you have learned a hard lesson. it seems to me that you have also realized that not looking after yourself is a little selfish, you frightened your friends to death and I would dread to think of your parents.
            I admire your willingness to live your life to the full, and hope that you are careful, it isn’t just about food you eat but also being vigilant of things like what someone else eats before you kiss… Look after yourself and enjoy your precious life,.

  2. Kerry @ Frugal City Girl November 21, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Oh my god, that sounds terrifying! I’m really looking forward to Dublin 2013 too, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be facing a brush with death and the comeback as cheerfully as you are here! Aah!

    • Liz November 22, 2012 at 2:42 am #

      haha I am definitely looking forward to giving Dublin a second chance in October 🙂

  3. Alex @ ifs ands & Butts November 21, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    Oh my gosh just terrifying! I always am nervous trying some things because I fear an allergy I don’t know about. Like when doctors say are you allergic to any medications and I have no idea because I’ve never taken it.

    • Liz November 22, 2012 at 2:41 am #

      it was so scary! Worst day ever! Totally tainted my memory of dublin and scared me off banana smoothies for life!

      • caroline June 3, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

        i no what you mean i almost died in paris a few years after being told
        something had no nuts i never wont to go back

      • bridget June 25, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

        My daughter is in Madrid now. She is 17 and facetimes her twin with a rash. Swollen eye and wheezing. She has never done this. I packed a medicine cabinet for her to take but forgot benadryl. Luckily she gad dramamine that had 50 mg of benadryl. Did better after 45 min but eue still swollen thus morning. None of the chaperones would answer their phones. Shes crying. Im upset. Extremely mad! Worried that she couldnt find benadryl. Still not sure if they did. Guide was supposed to help her find some. Im 4000 miles away. No more Tapas for her. They had burger king in toledo spain today. Allergist in order when she gets home next week

  4. Nicole November 21, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    Just reading this story made me cringe. Something very similar happened to me on my first visit to San Sebastian about 10 years ago. I ate something that I was allergic to apparently, but had no idea at the time, monkfish.

    Since I’ve never had food allergies, I was totally unprepared for what happened. I’ll spare you the details, but it includes passing out in the middle of the restaurant and being ill in front of the entire room. Then, I woke up to the chef slapping me in the face with his wet, dirty towel trying to get me the heck off the floor and out of his restaurant. Then, the ambulance finally showed up.

    I was also with friends and we were only in town for two nights. They were terrified for me and helped me the entire time. If it wasn’t for them, I think the restaurant staff would have thrown me out in the alley!

    Thank God you survived and yes, go to the hospital next time, missy!

    • Liz November 22, 2012 at 2:40 am #

      OMG that must have been so scary when you didn’t even know you were allergic! That’s a random allergy, are you allergic to anything else?

      I don’t know what I would have done without my friends! I might have died in the bathroom if my friend N hadn’t smacked me hard enough to wake me up!

      I was so stupid not to go to the hospital, I just convinced myself I would be fine in a few minutes, I’m so stubborn sometimes!

      • Rachel Zendejas June 23, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

        Can’t help but mention that most emergency rooms are happy to help stabilize someone in a true emergency… I know you “know” you should have went in hindsight, but… You should have went! They can bill you & you can pay $20/month until your slate is clean, or many hospitals have programs where if you are unable to pay, they can write it off… Avoiding a hospital bill is not worth your life. As a mother & a nurse, reading your story made me cringe. I love your blog, but not this one!!

        • J August 8, 2014 at 8:52 am #

          Plus in a lot of places in Europe they have socialized health care and won’t even ask if you live there, they’ll just treat you. I know that’s the case in the UK, it might be in Ireland as well.

          Also, expired Epi-Pen = Better than NO Epi-Pen.

          I kind of can’t believe no one made you go to the hospital after you passed out… or at least asked around til they found someone with an Epi. And the restaurant didn’t even call an ambulance? This whole situation is just full of people being very irresponsible- you’re super lucky to be alive, I’ve never even heard of someone surviving anaphylactic shock without treatment :-/

  5. Julika November 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    That sounds like the most horrible experience! Must be so terrifying to lose control over your body like that, and have the fear of dying!
    I don’t have food allergies, I know what it feels like to be ill in front of people though… I have chronic migraine and the headache often goes directly to my stomach. Every time I mess with my schedule of sleeping, eating, and drinking, or the weather changes quickly, I might have a sick headache… So, I have countless memories of times I threw up in public, and I hate being sick in front of other people! So humiliating! But although traveling is all about changing habits and schedules, I can’t and won’t stop 🙂 At least I might be top of the amount-of-countries-you-threw-up-at-list 🙂

    • Liz November 22, 2012 at 2:38 am #

      Yeah I understand, I used to have a problem with migraines too! it sucks getting sick in front of people and feeling helpless. Its such an awful feeling 🙁

      I played the what-new-object-can-I-barf-into-next game when I was in Africa. made it go by easier haha

  6. Megan November 21, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    oh my goodness! so sooooo scary!

    i have no allergies so ive been good when traveling (except in lithuania where i ended up constipated haha) but when i was in thailand, my friend, lindsay, ended up with a cashew allergy attack. it was soooo frightening. she was violently vomiting for hours. i felt so bad for her. it was all because of a cinnamon bun at breakfast. who knew it had cashews!?

    • Liz November 22, 2012 at 2:36 am #

      It always ends up where you least expect it, and it’s so scary when it happens! I’m not gonna lie, I am nervous about traveling to Thailand but I am determined that when I die, it will NOT be from eating a damn peanut!

  7. Megan November 21, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    btw…glad you ended up ok 😉

  8. Kaley [Y Mucho Más] November 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    This story scared the shit out of me. So glad nothing happened!!

  9. Joy November 23, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    Wow that’s scary. Glad you’re ok! I never knew what it was like to have a food allergy. You described it very well and I really hope I don’t have one.

    • Jo Ann July 16, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

      I’m glad that you had friends with you and that your ok. I hope that there won’t be a next time but, remember, you can still use an expired epi-pen as long as the liquid is clear (you should check it periodically even if it is still in date). If the liquid changes color or crystalizes then get a new one asap. You should never be without 2 Epi-pens as the medicine wears off quickly and if you are in a remote area you may have to give yourself a second shot. You still have to get to an er or at least a clinic after administering. We found out that my son was allergic when we were living on an island in the Caribbean. The closest hosptial was on the main island which was a boat or helicopter flight away. We were lucky his throat didn’t close (that time) and I was able to treat him with Benadryl. We have lived on 3 remote islands over the years, traveled to Ireland with him several times (my husband is from there) and I was never without Epi-pens, Benadryl and access to oxygen. He attends public school (where peanut butter is served in the cafeteria) and summer camp, Peanuts are something he can come into contact with whether he is here or traveling. It shouldn’t limit him, or anyone with a severe allergy, from enjoying a full life and living their dream. I am jealous of your Iceland adventure and have added that one to my list ! We love watching the “Vikings” drama on the History Channel, the scenery is breathtaking. Game of Thrones is also another favorite. Enjoy yourself and Be Safe !

  10. Cassandra November 25, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    I echo everyone else by saying that you are one luck–and unlucky!–gal. So glad you came out okay!! Also, what’s this about TBEX 2013….?

  11. Liz November 26, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    It sucks guys! I hope you guys never have to deal with having a food allergy, it’s truly terrifying!

  12. AllergyMomHere November 29, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    That is why parents of young children with food allergies are conservative about what their children consume…read every label, every time, and do NOT eat what you do not know, and consider cross contamination (even if your smoothie didn’t have gobs of peanut butter, they likely use one blender and still would have been contaminated).

    You’re lucky to be alive…and I mean that…I know 2 people your age that have died in restaurants.

    Carry 2 Epipens and get to the hospital ASAP if you have a reaction. Don’t wait and see, even with the Epipens. Get to the hospital even if you want to sit in the waiting room to avoid charges. At least you are then close to emergency care.

    Looking forward to your blog. My son is a teenager now and hope it is helpful as he approaches college age.

    • Selena Bluntzer November 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

      Yikes! Another “food allergy mom” here…I am so glad you are OK, but your post scares the daylights out of me, for what I might have to look forward to, with my now 4-year-old. As the previous poster said, you need to carry TWO EpiPens, MINIMUM with you at all times, no matter what. If you are travelling, I would suggest having FOUR, even, because in foreign countries, you cannot guarantee that an ambulance will have any on hand, and you don’t know how long it will take them to arrive, plus travel time to the hospital, etc.

      The reason you need 2 epinephrine autoinjectors is because the first dose might not be enough, and you might need a second dose after 5-10 minutes, plus on rare occasions the first injection might not work, or you might not inject it properly, etc. Once you administer epinephrine, you have to call an ambulance and go to a hospital, because you might have a biphasic reaction, where symptoms return, up to hours later. Don’t let cost be your driving factor, either. What good is saved money, if you’re not alive? That never makes sense to me when people say that! So, you might have to economize on things for a while after, or skip a trip. At least you’ll survive long enough to *take* the next trip!

      Sorry, this is all “mom talk”, so please forgive me. Thank you for sharing your story, so that others can learn from your mistakes, which is what I’ve done, too, with the mistakes I’ve made. We have to keep on living and learning, with an emphasis on the living part!

      P.S. For those who HAVE seen Pulp Fiction, using an epinephrine autoinjector is NOTHING like that scene!! 🙂 It just goes right into your thigh, no big deal. You don’t have to jab it straight into anyone’s heart, or anything dramatic like that.

      • Y. Kozar November 29, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

        Bravo that you are such an adventurous young adult!!!!! But how did you even get on a plane so many times and were able to relax all these years? My daughter is airborne to peanuts and if she goes into anaphylaxis she gets a shot and HAS to get to the ER which means landing a plane -can’t do that over an ocean. My thought is that you should be retested and carry more life-sustaining epipens. The fact that you survived and didn’t have bi-phasic reactions (more than one as it was still in your system) shocks me!!!!! WIthout 3-5 days of prednisone warding off potential further reactions leads me to think that although you dodged a bullet with anaphylaxis your next reaction could be the same or worse. Get retested. Most of us parents with high level peanut allergy kids can’t relax at any american restaurants due to huge cross -contamination issues (we had a lawsuit and won from a major 2 month ordeal with a rest.). The good news is that if you survived this you may not be as bad as alot of our kids that test and react higher, stronger and even more violent. I am so thankful you are ok and are writing to reach others. There is so much new testing I hope you dissect your allergy more as you may be worse than some and in a better place that many of our kids.

    • Liz November 30, 2012 at 1:09 am #

      I know, I was so incredibly lucky. This was four years ago and I learned a very important lesson that way. I am much more careful now than I was then.

      It’s sad but it took an incident like this for me to realize that I have to take my allergy seriously. But no matter how much your parents can pound it into their kid’s heads, you have to learn on your own sometimes

      Luckily we now live in a media age so I can share my experience with others and hopefully teach them how to travel safely with a food allergy. This post was just an intro, I have a lot more planned!!!

  13. another food allergy mom November 29, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    Very glad you are okay after such a traumatic and dangerous reaction! What a close call! I know you know that you should have gone to the hospital, so I won’t harp on that. But I want to make sure other readers understand that drinking alcohol would not have helped you get through the reaction. Far from an antidote, it might have made things worse! See:

    See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/20/health/20real.html.

    But maybe you were just kidding when you said, “No Jameson factory for us, though maybe if we had gone, a shot of whiskey might have cleared all the peanut proteins from my system.” Some less informed readers might think you’re serious because we so often think of alcohol as a useful tool to “sanitize” — kill — pathogens. How often have you heard folks reassure you that peanut has been removed from X food-prep surface because it was “sanitized” (rinsed or sprayed with alcohol or a bleach solution). But an allergic protein (like peanut proteins) aren’t a bacteria or virus that can be “killed.” Allergic proteins have to be *removed* mechanically (washing, scrubbing . . . soap and hot water help!). Or, once they’re in your body, they need to break down — a process that takes a long time and, unfortunately, an extra long time with the durable allergenic proteins in peanuts, esp. roasted peanuts, various nuts, and the proteins of other foods associated with anaphylaxis.

    You are a lovely young woman and I admire your adventurous spirit! Carry your EpiPens, always ask about your food, make sure your pals know how to help you in a pinch, and get out there and have a great time!

    • Liz November 30, 2012 at 1:17 am #

      thank you 🙂

      I definitely learned my lesson!

      I hope most readers knew I was joking about the Jameson, but then again, you never know haha!

  14. Lisa November 29, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    I am so happy that you made it through your episode alive! I have multiple food allergies and also severe allergy to latex and travelling is difficult. I always try to carry my epipens with me (I love that they automatically give you two, but yes- the expiration date can be such a hassle) and lots of benedryl. I am excited to hear more from you about travelling with allergies in other countries as I love to explore and experience new things but get afraid due to my allergies. I have done some international travel but admit to sticking to countries that I either speak the language (English/Spanish: Spain is awesome and one of my favorites) or know that their typical cuisine will be safe for me. I would love to be more adventuresome and branch out, but of course do it safely.

    I can completely relate to you about feeling humiliated and guilty about having an episode/attack. My friends and family always think I am crazy since it isn’t my fault and they are in no way upset about having to take time out for me when I get so sick. I always feel horrible about having to send something back or refuse to eat it and then embarrassed that I didn’t mention my allergy beforehand and asked about every ingredient and of course for getting so sick. You think you read the labels and descriptions carefully but sometimes they just don’t say everything (unlabeled buttering has been the near death of me a few times).

    Hope you have happy and SAFE future travels!

    • Liz November 30, 2012 at 1:26 am #

      Thanks Lisa!

      It’s hard for people to relate to all the complex feelings that come from having a food allergy! I always feel guilty and bad when I have a reaction, which is what led me to not seek the proper medical attention with this episode. I was young and I thought I would be fine. I was so embarrassed and afraid, especially since I was so broke

      I am so adventurous and outgoing when I travel, it can be hard to remember to ask or check. Sometimes asking isn’t enough, you have to be really thorough! I take pictures and I know how to say “peanut allergy” in about 10 languages haha. I eat a lot of street food and I always try to try everything I can

      I’m preparing to do some traveling in SE Asia. I always thought I would never be able to go to Thailand, but now I am going to do just thought and prove that traveling through such a peanut infested country is possible.

      Hopefully this will be my first and last scary peanut anecdote!

  15. Kari November 29, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    My son has an anaphylaxis allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. I’m scared to death to have him travel. How are you on flights etc? He can have reactions from smelling and touching even so I really worry about him having one on a plane. Since you travel a lot I’m guessing you have researched this? I’m glad this story had a “happy” ending…..

    • Liz November 30, 2012 at 1:13 am #

      I do have a very severe allergy, but I haven’t had problems on flights. You can notify the airlines in advance so they make it a peanut free zone. And touching hasn’t really been an issue for me since I was 5.

      An allergy shouldn’t keep anyone from traveling or flying. Especially if your kids are taught really well about how to ask what’s in food, ect. worse case scenario is preparing all your own foods.

      I’ve traveled all over the world and this is my only incident. I learned the hard way though!

      • Alice November 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

        Most airlines won’t do the peanut-free zone nowadays. 🙁 Some of the international airlines will, and different people have had varied experiences on various domestic airlines, but the written policy of almost all of them is no accomodation. 🙁

        Thankfully talking to your row-mates rather than the airline often works pretty well when you end up near polite folks.

        I look forward to your future posts. I think for some of the parents reading this it might help them understand that this was your wake-up call if you put a short disclaimer at the top saying more explicity “Don’t do what I did in this story. This was my wake-up call and I was incredibly lucky. Take your allergies seriously and follow your allergist’s instructions when you have a reaction.” Or something. Might help you avoid getting more of the scared-rude-judgemental comments that I see here.

        Here’s hoping.

        • Alice November 30, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

          P.S. SO glad you’re okay, so glad you are still brave enough to travel.

        • Chris in Boston March 23, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

          I have found Jetblue to be very accomodating. They generally don’t serve peanuts (sometimes they serve tree nuts), but if you tell them you have an allergy, they will make an announcement and will have a three row buffer in front and back of you and will not serve nuts in those rows. Although I have found that if asked, most of them will not serve peanuts/tree nuts at all – they have plenty of alternatives.

  16. liz in australia November 30, 2012 at 12:58 am #

    you’re an idiot!

    “I am not exactly innocent when it comes to my allergy. In fact, I am rather lazy about have a life-threatening illness. I am very adventurous when it comes to trying new food, and (until Dublin) I almost never ask if it a dish contains peanuts.”

    “Unfortunately my live-saving Epi-pen expired when I was in Spain and I never bothered to get a new one since I was coming home”

    I hope you learnt a valuable lesson.

    how did you end up getting rescued? did you get taken to hospital in the end?

    • Liz November 30, 2012 at 1:15 am #

      Hey now, be nice!

      I’m not an idiot, thank you very much. I was only 19! which I guess is the same thing….

      The whole point of this post was to share my experience and to show what I learned from it. It is the first in a series I am drafting about how to travel the world safely with an allergy.

      Like I said in my post, I didn’t go to the hospital, I recovered on my own but it took over a day. I was really, really lucky.

  17. Another Mom November 30, 2012 at 1:56 am #

    Wow. I’m glad you are going to blog more on the subject! Do you know about http://selectwisely.com/ ? Or other chef cards with translations? Have they worked for you? Looking forward to reading your upcoming posts . . .

  18. Kristi November 30, 2012 at 1:56 am #

    Liz- very happy you made it through that!! I lived in Germany for 3 years and traveled with child who is anaphylactic to peanuts/ tree nuts. It can be done!! If I was unsure I would try and find a market selling produce for her to snack on. Enjoy your youth, be safe, and enjoy life to it’s fullest!! Please share your new secrets for safe travels

  19. Lisa November 30, 2012 at 2:38 am #

    Thank you for your post. My son has severe nut allergies and I have been so anxious about traveling with him. I’ll follow your posts with interest because not only will they provide me with someone’s first hand experiences, they’ll give me hope and optimism about my future travel plans!

  20. Ashley of Ashley Abroad November 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Wow that’s quite a story, I’m glad you’re okay! I’m allergic to a few things, like mangos and cat hair (random) but they only makes my skin itch and my throat scratchy. My travel problem that strikes unexpectedly is crippling migraines… I’m basically forced to miss out on the whole day, it’s so annoying as a traveler :(.

  21. Denise Demosure December 2, 2012 at 4:06 am #

    Like you I am a traveler who is also deadly allergic to peanuts and occasionally irresponsible about it. Three things are totally incredible to me about your story:

    1. You passed out after going into anaphylaxis.
    2. You did not go to the hospital.
    3. You survived.

    Most people die when they lose consciousness after going into anaphylaxis. You are a very lucky person, and a walking, talking, jogging, blogging miracle. Seriously.

    I had a near death episode with anaphylaxis last year. It is a thrilling adventure that happened when I was camping alone in the mountains. It’s called “Anaphylaxis Survival in the Remote Wilderness” Here’s the link:

    http://demosure.blogspot.com/2012/09/anaphylaxis-survival-in-remote.html

  22. nynutallergy December 3, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    Incredible story and very glad you are still alive to share your experience. Unfortunately, going through an experience like the one you endured shakes up your entire life and definitely brings a new perspective both on life, and how to really manage your allergy. I have a severe tree nut allergy as well as moderate peanut and sesame allergy. I had an almost deadly experience on a camp trip in Israel when I was 16 and someone saved my life by slipping me an anti-histimine. Up until that day, my family never believed that I had a food allergy which was very stressful on top of dealing with the actual allergy. Besides reacting physically, it truly can be a very emotional experience when having a severe reaction and I think I can relate to you.

    I am 32 now and have learned to manage my food allergy by always carrying an anti-histimine and epi-pen and taking precautions. I live in the US and eat out a lot so I make sure to read all food labels and question waiters in restaurants every single time. Attending weddings and large parties can be tricky because waiters never know what’s in the food so I find the head chef or catering manager and they tell me what I can and cannot eat or prepare a special plate for me – I also make sure to eat before a party just in case. In general I stay away from southeast/Indian restaurants due to cross contamination. International travel and business meals can be difficult but you just have to be straightforward and assertive with your needs – hey this is your life and you want to keep it going. I’m not sure how open I am to traveling to Thailand due to the peanut usage there, and I usually get pretty nervous travelling to the middle east (btw I am middle eastern, ironically!) and it can be stressful at times. I bring my own food on airplanes, and bring plenty of snacks with me when I travel. I brought translation cards on a trip to turkey and they were very helpful- I recommend them. I usually stay away from buffet food and rarely eat desserts while travelling unless it is fruit . On rare occasion when I let my guard down that “one time” with trying that savory looking dessert, or a buffet chicken or I don’t say anything to the waiter, I get a reaction.

    Also, I’ve learned that once I feel the tingling in my mouth happening, if I brush my teeth and then drink soda or a fizzy drink, followed by chewing gum, it has actually helps calm the reaction and sometimes even diminishes it which sounds crazy, i know. Hope this helps. Thank you for creating this post and sharing your experience. If I can help in any way or share more please feel free to reach out! please keep us up to the date on your trip to thailand and how it is managing your allergy…enjoy the trip! thx.

  23. Angie December 13, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    I have a similar nonchalance to my potentially life-threatening allergies, and unsurprisingly, a similar story called ‘that time I nearly died in Nashville’ (including friends looking after me and being horrified and me refusing to go to the hospital). Near death experiences do tend to make one a little more careful.

    Travelling with food allergies can be super annoying, and I also get sick of asking about the ingredients of everything I eat. It’s usually easy to pick.
    Basically, we could be allergy twins and I sympathise!

  24. cailin January 10, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    OMG that is so scary!! You are so lucky that you were ok! Can’t believe the girl with the horrible allergy didn’t have health insurance! You are a nut! (no pun intended 😉 haha)

  25. Amy April 19, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    I just found your wonderful blog as I searched ” traveling Ireland with a peanut allergy”. I have a 9 year old son with a severe, anaphylactic allergy to peanuts. We are headed to Dublin in 5 weeks. After reading your post, we will be asking about ingredients everywhere! So sorry that you had to go through such a scary experience. Thanks for helping future travelers.

  26. Destinee May 18, 2013 at 12:52 am #

    The same thing happened to me when I went to visit Thailand 2 years ago. Although I tried to explain my allergy I don’t think our translator thought I was serious when I said “deathly allergic.” I will be traveling to the Middle East for a semester abroad in the fall — any tips on how to explain an allergy to people from other cultures?

  27. N June 7, 2013 at 1:22 am #

    Wow, I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone:( I’m glad you’re ok, that’s really awful. Although I have to admit, it’s nice knowing that someone else who loves travelling is allergic to peanuts. The only country I’d be really nervous about is Thailand. But there’s ways around it, there’s no reason why it would stop me:D like you, I don’t believe our allergies should limit us.
    I just discovered your blog an hour ago, and I love it. You have such a nice personality, and I agree with most of your points (well, everything so far):p Great job!

  28. Saralinda June 17, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

    For my 60th birthday, two years ago, my sweet husband treated me to 10 days in Ireland. Never had any problem except at the Dublin airport. We were due to fly out early in the morning so my hubbie decided we should spend the night at the airport. After 7 pm, the only restaurant open was a noodle place that cooked EVERYTHING with peanuts and a magazine stand that had pre-made sandwiches. Of course, I made sure that I was very careful the whole trip so I didn’t have a problem. Everyone was so understanding when I asked what was in a dish. I am so sorry that you had a bad experience. Don’t let it stop you from traveling.

    • Liz June 20, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

      Oh I won’t!!

  29. Arda June 18, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    Wow! You are incredibly lucky! My 12 year old is going on his first trip to Montreal tomorrow morning with his class! He has severe anaphylaxis to peanuts/treenuts and has never travelled without me to screen food/restaurants before. I think I’m more scared than he is! Thanks for your post. Its very encouraging to know how you haven’t let your allergy intimidate you!

  30. Laura June 27, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    I am not joking when I say- this exact same thing happened to me. In Dublin- breakfast smoothie- nothing on the menu- peanut butter. I would be interested to find out the name of the place to see if it was the same. Also when it happened to me, I made them PROMISE that they would put peanuts on the menu- this was 2005. I wonder when you had this issue, and if they had broken their promise to me- I wonder if they had be kept it would this article exist?! Very interesting…

  31. Amanda September 28, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    I stumbled upon your post while searching for information on traveling to Spain with nut allergies. My son has tree nut allergy, and my husband is allergic to peanuts. Thankfully, we haven’t had any reactions on the road. Hubby is pretty lax about asking if things have peanuts in them, relying on his “Sixth Sense” to sniff out anything with peanuts. His relaxed style scares the crap out of me. My son is 10, and I am much more cautious with what he eats. We try to rent apartments to cook most meals in. It’s not as fun as being spontaneous with dining out, but I research each city we visit, and identify places we can visit for a safe meal. We can’t be as adventurous with our food, but I’m okay with that if it means keeping my family safe.

    Our biggest “near miss” on the road was in The Netherlands. We ordered a coffee, I think it was a caramel latte, but it came with tiny chopped peanuts all over the top. Hubby figured it out right away, but it was still scary and upsetting as he brought his nose close to the coffee to figure out what the heck those little things were. Yikes!

  32. Ireland October 22, 2013 at 2:04 am #

    I’m glad you are alive but you so easily could have died and it would solely be your fault. I hate to be “mean? but you have a life threatening allergy AND you have a way to treat that allergy until you seek proper medical attention…yet you didn’t ask what was in a milkshake (hint- milkshakes OFTEN have peanut butter!) and you didn’t have the LIFE SAVING medicine with you AND YOU refused to be treated at a hospital.
    Ireland has a wonderful healthcare system. You would have received excellent and affordable care.

    I’m allergic (anaphylaxis reaction) to many types of berries. Anytime I go to a place that serves breakfast, I ask if the berries I am allergic to are in anyway included in the breakfast. If it seems like the waiter doesnt understand my query, I simply ask “are there berries” or sometimes even “is there fruit” in this dish.
    You could ask if there are any nuts and avoid anything with nuts or just avoid items where the waiter cant list the exact ingredients.

    Or you could carry a minimum of 2 epi pens and give a damn about your life. There comes a time when “youthful indiscretion” becomes frank stupidity.

    • Liz October 22, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

      congratulations for missing the entire point of this post!

  33. Kristin October 26, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    I just stumbled across your blog post and I’m glad I did! My son has a peanut allergy and we are traveling to Ireland in a month. We lived in Italy for 4 years and like Spain they never use peanuts, so I can be a little lazy about asking when we are in Europe. I needed this reminder and it’s good to know ahead of time that the Irish do use peanut butter. Thanks for sharing your story.

  34. soup.io November 18, 2013 at 10:49 am #

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  35. Lianne Mandelbaum November 21, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    Please check out this article which details my story in the NY TImes
    Lianne Mandelbaum

    http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/14/what-should-airlines-do-about-children-with-peanut-allergies/?_r=1

    http://www.cntraveler.com/perrin-post/2013/09/what-should-airlines-do-about-passenger-peanut-allergies#/livefyre

    http://nonuttraveler.com/Default.aspx : this is my website formed based on my horrific flight experience, I am trying to get other food allergic parents and adults to share their stories so we can begin to build a data base
    also encouraging people to write their legislators and sign my petition
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/102/513/863/
    read the comments on the petition they are truly telling as well as the commentary on both articles above
    I hope you can help spread the word
    see post by Grateful Foodie http://www.gratefulfoodie.com/airlines-peanut-allergies/

  36. Kate December 30, 2013 at 1:15 am #

    haha I read this after your hate comments post and I have to say it could always be worse also it’s always Dublin. When I was studying in Wales one of the Canadian boys went to Dublin for St Patties somehow he got beat up by an 8 year old, drunk as hell, naked and woke up in our friends bed with the Irish flag around him. All I know is if he was living he was doing a good job haha.

  37. Nicola January 6, 2014 at 1:10 am #

    Just discovered your blog today and love it! Keep up the great work Liz 🙂

    I don’t have any food allergies. I am vegetarian so it often makes travelling the world interesting. While staying in Barcelona I was out for tapas and everything on a particular dish was cut up into perfect little squares. it turns out mini squares of salmon look a lot like mini squares of tomato. I had to try and do the subtle napkin/spit the food out thing- fail.

  38. Ross January 13, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    That is crazy. As a non allergic person it is hard to imagine how bad it can be but you describe it well enough to be really glad I dont have it.

  39. Nicole March 7, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    Hey Liz,

    I’ve been deathly allergic to a lot of different things my entire life so reading this hit me pretty hard. The top of the list for me includes all nuts, any kind of seafood, most berries and dogs, all of which will send me into anaphylactic shock. I’m also asthmatic which doesn’t help. Since I’ve been coping with this for 20+ years now I can honestly say that I’m pretty lazy when it comes to my allergies as well. I don’t always carry my epipen when I don’t have pockets, I don’t always keep it on my person when I have it, I often let them expire without even noticing and I also don’t typically ask about ingredients in every meal I eat. I know how awful all of that is but after dealing with it for so long it sometimes just ends up in the back of my mind.
    I also get really embarrassed about these types of things. I never want people to have to make special accommodations for me, I don’t want to be the one to make everyone leave when there’s a dog around and I hate drawing attention to my allergies, even if it could potentially save my life.
    One of my biggest goals in life has always been to travel full-time around the world. As soon as I finish school and save up enough, of course. So as you can probably assume, having so many life-threatening allergies has been a huge concern for me. Sorry for writing this enormous comment but I just wanted to say that I’m really glad to know that I’m not the only one with these sorts of problems, even though it does feel that way sometimes. Anyway, reading this has inspired me to be a little more careful and also helped to give me the confidence I need to stop letting life-threatening allergies get in the way of my life goals, especially traveling.

    Thanks!
    -Nikki

  40. Ab March 9, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    Shit, that’s crazy. Glad you’re ok.

    • k.J. March 26, 2014 at 6:59 am #

      Thanks for sharing your story. It makes nut allergies real to some who doubt the consequences those with nut allergies have. I have lived for 60 years with a nut and seed allergy, and have been respected by most people when I requested information at a resturant, but beware of oils, and the things your foods are cooked in. Canola Oil is often used, as well as cotton seed oil. The servers will tell you it is Vegetable oil. Ask, ask ask until they read the small print on the bottle and inform you as to the exact type of vegetable oil.

      I have sat in Airplanes that served peanuts or cashus and had to breath in the fumes for an hour or so in close quarters. Very bad, made me sick for at least 24 hours.

      On a special birthday, my husband took me to a very fine restaurant in Detroit. I informed the servers of my allergy. Dinner was fine, but,for desert I ordered Key Lime pie. Who makes Key lime pie with nuts? Wrong!!!!! The crust was crushed walnuts!!!! 50mg of benidril, then a frantic car ride to the hospital,while throwing up, My throat was swelling shut. I had an anaphalatic reaction. I was so anxious, I forgot to use the epi- pen I had in my purse. There was an accident on the freeway so my husband had to drive on the curb for a few miles to pass the tie up. I came to in the emergency room. Nice evening out!

  41. Sergi April 4, 2014 at 4:01 am #

    Hi Liz, great post!

    I’m also allergic to nuts, peanuts and more food. I’m planning to travel to Thailand and I definitely want to avoid your experience. If that story had happened to me I would have died…

    I just wanted to ask you if you had any problems carrying Epi-pen in your bag. It seems that injections are not allowed in the hand bag and if I keep them in the checked bag they might freeze up on the plane.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Tanner December 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

      Ive had tree nut allergies all my life and never really thought about them until they became more mainstream and seem to be in everything now a days.

      Last year I was on 33 flights and have travelled many places like Thailand, Bali, Ecuador, Galapagos, Dominican, Eastern Europe etc etc and have never really had an issue with nuts until I was in Bali. We were fortunate to have a private chef in Thailand, but even with the chef I still made my own food and went to the markets.

      Ive always been able to carry my epi-pens on the plane with me via carryon and haven’t even had the slightest resistance from any officials going through security or anything like that 🙂

      When I was in Bali I had the worst attack to date and actually had to go to emergency via ambulance. I managed to just get my epi pen out and injected before I passed out so it literally saved me. The couple times before that when I had attacks I would always just drink Benadryl and I would just drive to the emergency to get checked out so this one was a shocker.

      Now, I pretty much don’t eat what I don’t make which works out well as Im huge into fitness, but makes it a bit tricky when travelling. I’ve also made a habit of phoning food companies to see their manufacturing and handling procedures on supplements and some other foods that are essential in my meal plan and its actually quite interesting depending on which food company it is. At the end of the day more knowledge is better and even though its a pain in the butt to pack food or do your own meal prep, its so worth it 🙂

  42. Victoria April 20, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    Hi there! Thanks for this article. I too have a nut allergy and I’m also asthmatic! I have travelled a lot and I continue to travel. Believe me, staff see me as the irritating girl as I ask so many questions LOL. I’m British but I live in Germany, so awareness is strong and ingredients are clearly labelled in food products.

    My favourite continent is Asia so I have to be extra careful with the sauces as they tend to “decorate” food with nuts. I learn the local word for my allergies, write it down, and take my medication daily as I’m also sensitive to certain fibres, smoke, dust, pollen, and heat. No A.C’s for me! I learnt when I was a child, to learn how to live as full a life as I can by adjusting, adapting, and avoiding and I’m still here! I look forward to reading more. Thanks for sharing!

  43. Carolyn May 3, 2014 at 3:03 am #

    Hi Liz I am a mother of two teenagers with nut allergy. One to peanut, one to cashew. Both wish to travel and in fact my son(16 years) with the cashew/pistachio nut allergy is going to Vietnam for a month involving trekking at the end of the year. I am scared to death ….actually totally terrified …but as this is his dream I don’t want to hold him back. My other son (18 years peanut allergy) also wants to travel to Scandinavia to visit a friend who came on exchange. I travelled when I was younger and I loved it .I really want my kids to have this opportunity but I worry about this because I love them and want them to be safe. They also have been at times a bit blasé about their allergies.It is a hard thing to always be so constantly vigilant and always so assertive. I am so glad you are Ok and so glad you are not letting your condition limit your young wonderful life. Just be really careful. Please let me know if you have any tips for travelling to Asia especially Vietnam and when my son returns safely maybe he can fill you in also.

  44. Mae June 9, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    hello there, trust Dublin to mess things up… sorry, semi-joking, spent time teaching in Ireland, never took my PA son there for fear of an episode, not the best of places for PA people. On another note, flying with a peanut allergy and asking your fellow passengers not to munch for two hours (never flown with PA for longer) is another experience in ‘humanism’. Just listen to snide comments if you are ever in a position to ask. My husband had to restrain me a couple of times from physically assaulting a smart-a** fellow passenger. We normally ask the crew to do an announcement for people to refrain from eating peanuts for the duration of the (short) flight. Someone once asked me on a Monarch flight if I was in cahoots with the airline to help them sell more of their products if people were not allowed to eat their own food (which they were, we just asked them if they would not eat peanuts until we were in descent). Oh and once I had to ask a Spanish guy behind us to wait just another 20mins and then munch on peanuts and he was the nicest person ever. Understanding and completely cool about the whole thing. While I counted the seconds to landing, clutching my son’s epipens.

  45. Jolene @ Homespun Heritage June 30, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    Wow…I have two children that have severe food allergies…one is allergic to peanuts and most tree nuts. We had my 4 yr old retested in 2013 and the Allergist said she was clean and would not react. I did the food trial at home and after a few cookies with PB in them she told me “My belly is on fire and my throat hurts.” Rather articulate for a newly turned 3 yr old, eh? So, reaction trumps skin prick test any day. I was shocked when my next child had severe FA’s as well…Crazy, how can I have two with completely opposite food allergies? Funny stuff….how do we travel with FA’s? Get very familiar with restaurant allergen menus, we make no apologies for bringing food into a restaurant with us or to an event, etc. Our children are snackers/grazers rather than hearty meal type mini-people. So that makes packing food easier. One is a protein queen and the other a carb king….strange wee ones but we love ’em!

  46. Louise August 23, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    Hi Liz

    Brilliant post, and I completely understand. I suffer from a nut and sesame seed allergy. I love to travel, but my allergy always makes me nervous when I go to a new destination. And there are some places in the world I won’t ever feel comfortable going to. Equally, there are some restaurants in the UK I will avoid, even though the UK is very allergy aware.

    I think it’s hard for people to understand how frightening it is to have an allergy. I’ve always been very careful, but have ended up in ER and thought I was going to die.

    Happy travels!

  47. Iris Milton October 7, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    Hey, Liz! Impressive article. Thank you for sharing your experience. I know it’s difficult to travel with such food allergy. Glad you’re ok!

  48. An Allergian Abroad November 20, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    What an interesting post Liz.. I can’t say that I’ve ever had such a close call. Glad you wrote about this though – I also share my experiences travelling with allergies (anaphylactic and less severe)! Now I know to avoid banana smoothies 🙂

  49. Robin December 16, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    So glad you are okay! I travel gluten-free, but my reaction to gluten is a walk in the park compared to those with peanut allergies! In addition to wheat, I am also allergic to eggs & crab. I prefer to stay in B&Bs, and I’ve grown used to contacting the innkeepers ahead of time to let them know of my allergies. My experience has been that they bend over backwards to accommodate me…and some are even excited to try new recipes, etc. At first I was embarrassed about having to ask, but everyone has been so nice and understanding.

    By the way, I had to go to an urgent care center while on vacation in Scotland once–and they didn’t charge me a dime for the visit or the antibiotics. Scotland residents don’t have to pay for healthcare, and they extended that to me which I was very thankful for. I guess it all depends on which country you’re traveling to, but your post reminds me to look into it for our future trip to Ireland. Just in case! 🙂

    • Eat Like You Love Yourself January 25, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

      They should have charged you because NHS care in the whole of the UK is paid for by taxpayers, it’s not free.

  50. Eat Like You Love Yourself January 25, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

    Yes, people do have the same issues with allergy in Europe and nut allergies are common. As of 13th December 2014 though (if you do come back and visit Europe some time) all catering establishments and places selling ‘loose’ food are required by law to inform consumers what allergens they contain (of the 14 required by the EU). However, the onus is still on the consumer to tell staff they have an allergy because they can chose to give that information in whatever way they want, including verbally. If your allergy is that severe, you really should anyway.

    Did you know the most common age to die from a food allergy is in your teens? This is because after years of dealing with allergies, teenagers suddenly think they don’t have to follow the rules anymore. It terrifies me as my son has nut, peanut and coconut allergies. I’m trying to teach him ALWAYS to ask. I’m glad you got better but really if you don’t ask, you can never be sure something is safe.

    • Mike Chan July 24, 2016 at 11:31 pm #

      I am just In Barcelona yes they have rules and even show them on their menu but they don’t really enforce it or comply with it as we found out food listed as not having any turned out to have it after we pressed for more clarification

  51. Jackie De Burca June 27, 2015 at 3:49 am #

    What a horrible experience and glad to hear you survived it, and lived to tell the tale. Dublin is a great city, so I hope your next trip went more smoothly …without any dodgy smoothies 🙂 There is a downside to not being as paranoid about lawsuits, which is this type of thing of course. I hope you got to the Guinness Hopstore and Jameson on your next trip.

  52. Tom November 24, 2015 at 8:59 am #

    Hi, interesting story, I had a similar experience in London with a Banana Split that had peanuts sprinkled on it then hidden with Whipped cream – WTF! Luckily I don’t get anaphylactic shock so I just went to a Pharmacy and got some anti-allergy pills before the reaction took hold.

    I don’t mind people not knowing about the extent of allergies but it annoys me when they are in denial about it – see people’s experiences above! I’m not asking anyone not to eat peanuts – please just list ingredients accurately and don’t hide peanuts in food!

  53. Jessie Conner December 8, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

    Dang! That sounds terrifying!
    I always wondered what it would be like to travel all over the world with a violent allergy.
    I think you put it into words very well!
    Love your personality that just oozes through your posts! 🙂

  54. Adrian January 15, 2016 at 5:49 pm #

    Wow, I just found this article because I was looking for tips on travelling with allergies…. I have a sever tree nut allergy (I can have peanuts) and I’m going to Vietnam soon but I’m trying to be extra careful after almost dying in Italy last year from pecans! I had no idea the chicken panino was pecan-crusted….. I had to go to the ER via ambulance. Anyway, I’ve been freaked out ever since about travelling outside the US or UK/commonwealth. Vietnam will be… interesting. Did you end up writing more posts on traveing with allergies? I love reading posts like yours because they inspire me to keep pursuing my travel dreams despite my allergy. And maybe we can hope that someday more countries will be aware of the dangers people like us face on a daily basis in something normal people probably don’t think about very often at all!

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